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datatime: 2022-09-30 17:46:10 Author:HyJFwrWO

They had all felt that the place was sucking at them, that they could get lost in here and never come back. What Terry hadn't admitted to the others-but suspected they'd felt as well-was that for a moment the idea of getting lost had tempted him. Here were sweet poisons and twisted dreams. Here were things he could never touch with hands of mere flesh and bone ...

They had all felt that the place was sucking at them, that they could get lost in here and never come back. What Terry hadn't admitted to the others-but suspected they'd felt as well-was that for a moment the idea of getting lost had tempted him. Here were sweet poisons and twisted dreams. Here were things he could never touch with hands of mere flesh and bone ...

Around four-thirty A.M. they'd all met back up in the kitchen, bedraggled and happy, and managed to make a batch of popcorn. Then they put Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Terry's VCR, snuggled up on the couch, and thrilled to the sinister tale until dawn, rewinding it again and again at the part where Gene Wilder said "WE are the music makers, and WE are the dreamers of dreams." After that Terry and Victoria crashed while Calvin and David went zooming off to breakfast, still full of crazed fungal energy.

We come in peace, he said, holding out a large slender hand. "We are his brudda an' sista. My name is Dougal. The lady is Edwina. Eddy."

Still, it was one thing to trust people based on a gut reaction; it was quite another when the feds might be involved. He was glad they hadn't happened upon Kinsey first. "How come you to ask in here?"

We come in peace, he said, holding out a large slender hand. "We are his brudda an' sista. My name is Dougal. The lady is Edwina. Eddy."

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

Eventually, of course, they had. At first it had just looked like any old abandoned house, all sagging wood and ancient dust and shadow. But as they approached the bloodstained doorway to the hall, the shadows had seemed to shift around them, to change, and for a moment they were no longer in the house at all.

He's staying with a friend, Terry said. "In an abandoned, haunted house. Now I'm not going out there, and I don't guess you better go by yourselves either. But I'll take you over to my friend Kinsey's. He doesn't mind ghosts. He'll go tell Zach you're here."

That made him think of Trevor and Zach. Terry had hoped they would show up again, but they never did. He wondered if they had spent the night tripping in that house. The thought made his nuts crawl. Terry remembered scaring his younger friends with the story of the murders as a teenager, wondering aloud if the McGees' ghosts still lived in the house, daring them to go inside with him.

Okay Terry jumped up. "Hang on Let's go in the back room and talk this over." He locked the door, flipped the sign to the side that read BACK IN 5 ... OR 15 ... OR WHENEVER.

Help you with something? he inquired. Probably they were looking for Steve and Ghost. Kids from the fringe had started drifting into town over the past year, since Lost Souls? had managed to get their tape distributed to record stores up and down the East Coast. Most just wanted to see a show; a few wanted to camp out in the band's yard, or thought Ghost was their true soulmate due to secret personal messages they heard in his lyrics. It was a little unnerving, but it had brought in tons of business when Steve worked at the store. Even now that Lost Souls? was touring, when Terry pointed out that he had played drums on their tape, these kids would always buy a Whirling Disc T-shirt.

Because Zach's a freak, Eddy said simply, "and freaks tend to frequent record stores."

Because Zach's a freak, Eddy said simply, "and freaks tend to frequent record stores."

Terry took the hand and shook it. Dougal spoke with a thick Jamaican accent, and his eyes were sharp, kind, stoned. The girl's burned like embers. Terry believed they were Zach's friends, though probably not his actual brudda an' sista. They smelled faintly sweaty, as if they had been driving all night. And the photo was worn, rubbed around the edges. Someone had spent a lot of time looking at it, and Terry was willing to bet that someone was Edwina. Eddy.

We come in peace, he said, holding out a large slender hand. "We are his brudda an' sista. My name is Dougal. The lady is Edwina. Eddy."

Around four-thirty A.M. they'd all met back up in the kitchen, bedraggled and happy, and managed to make a batch of popcorn. Then they put Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Terry's VCR, snuggled up on the couch, and thrilled to the sinister tale until dawn, rewinding it again and again at the part where Gene Wilder said "WE are the music makers, and WE are the dreamers of dreams." After that Terry and Victoria crashed while Calvin and David went zooming off to breakfast, still full of crazed fungal energy.

He hit the joint, which tasted even better than it smelled, and held the smoke in for a long time. He didn't think so much of theft, but it was hard to feel sorry for vast bloated corporate entities like Citibank and Southern Bell. They loved to talk about how the cost of such theft was passed on to the consumer, Terry reflected, but when was any cost of big business not passed on to the little guy at the bottom of the ladder?

How 'bout we all relax a little firs', said Dougal, and pulled out a straw pouch and a package of rolling papers. As soon as he opened the pouch, the sweet sticky reek of absolute primo weed filled the store. Terry saw a double handful of tightly packed bright green bud bristling with tiny red hairs. Dougal pinched off a generous amount and started rolling a huge spliff right there on the counter.

Terry suspected that psychedelic drugs affected the body chemistry of gay men differently than straights. He could never eat greasy diner food on 'shrooms, and though he'd enjoyed Ecstasy the couple of times he'd done it, he hadn't felt remotely like dancing to disco music all night. Or techno, or rave, or whatever was the current noise of choice. Calvin and David had kept wanting to drive to Raleigh where they imagined they could find' some glamorous after-hours club and do just that.

Because Zach's a freak, Eddy said simply, "and freaks tend to frequent record stores."

He didn't know if it had been a group hallucination or what. He doubted so, because it didn't seem to have anything to do with the murders. Terry had seen a city street around him, a boarded-up slum, wavering like a mirage but definitely there. R.J. had seen a dark deserted bar with shattered glass on the floor and cracked mirrors on the walls so dusty that he could not see his face in them. And Steve would never say what he had seen, except that it had legs like a bug.

Because Zach's a freak, Eddy said simply, "and freaks tend to frequent record stores."

He hit the joint, which tasted even better than it smelled, and held the smoke in for a long time. He didn't think so much of theft, but it was hard to feel sorry for vast bloated corporate entities like Citibank and Southern Bell. They loved to talk about how the cost of such theft was passed on to the consumer, Terry reflected, but when was any cost of big business not passed on to the little guy at the bottom of the ladder?

Terry realized he had been woolgathering. Two kids were standing by the imports section eyeing him speculatively. One was a lean black guy wearing a Yellowman shirt and voluminous multipocketed fatigue pants, long color-threaded dreadlocks pulled back in a thick ponytail from his amiable, slightly horsey face. The other was an absolute knockout, a stunning Asian girl with short hair that accented her large tilted eyes and exquisite bones. She wore a lot of earrings, but no makeup. Terry hadn't seen either of them around town before.

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